Yet another horror comedy in Tamil cinema. Looks like the entertainers that got made long back when horror was the thing and got stalled due to financial issues are seeing the daylight now. Hostel is the official remake of hit Malayalam drama Adi Kapyare Kootamani helmed by John Varghese. The story of the flick is of a woman who gets into a boy’s hostel and finds it difficult to come out of it. Actor Ashok Selvan who was last seen in the adult drama Manmadha Leelai is back on screens with the horror comedy Hostel. Actress Priya Bhavani Shankar has played the female lead. Director Sumanth Radhakrishnan has helmed the movie. So, how has the flick come out? Has the Tamil version of the flick done justice to its original, and will it aid actor Ashok Selvan to continue his winning streak? To know that let us get into the movie review.
The movie follows the life of Kathir (Ashok Selvan), a mischievous college student who lives in the hostel. The hostel is under the control of a strict warden, Father Kuriakose (Nasser), for whom discipline is above all in life. He has strict rules in place in the hostel to get the students in line. He sees to it that the rules are obeyed with the assistance of his sloppy aid Sathappan (Munishkanth). Despite the stern rulebook, students are students and they are roguish. Kathir lands in a financial struggle. While he is looking for his redemption, he meets Adhirshtalakshmi (Priya Bhavani Shankar), who makes a proposition. If Kathir takes her into his hostel, she would take care of his financial struggle. Kathir agrees to the deal.
He comes up with a plan to get her inside the hostel and succeeds. But every time they try to get out of the hostel, someone or other makes it difficult for them. Hence, Adhirshtalakshmi gets stuck inside the hostel. Will she be able to get out, why she wanted to go into the hostel in the first place, and her attempt to get out of the hostel without getting caught by the hostelites, the warden and his subordinate, is what makes the rest of the flick.
If you take the film’s one line, of a woman desiring to get into a boy’s hostel, and later finding it difficult to come out of it, – it easily gives away what we are in for. Hostel is tagged with a U/A certificate which feels permissive for a drama that navigates the salacious water for most of the time for its convenience. Nonetheless, it has got a plot that is interesting and juicy to squeeze a fun adult entertainer out of. However, film maker Sumanth Radhakrishnan is adamant and chose to row his plot with cliched cliches to inflate his script and bank on irksome and outright offensive double entendre. Hostel would make for a good case study on how not to make a horror comedy. The film flows purposelessly to all over the place, throwing whatever it imagines as a laughing material. The characters are uninspiring and trite. This is almost every character in the film. Even if we overlook these elements, Hostel is still void of entertainment.
There seems to be a problem with what is perceived as comedy in Hostel. For instance, take the way how the students are written. Given their age, it is natural for them to be curious about sex and alcohol consumption. But the students we come across in Hostel are alcoholics and sex obsessed individuals who are literally in the desperation mode. It is hard to let this kind of writing pass on as humor. Besides, they are not laugh inducing either. Hostel is not just made of portions like this, but it is the very bone of it. The gig between Munishkanth and Aranthangi Nisha, where the latter is a ghost and trailing after the former seeking marriage and intimate relationship is the worst of it all. Few short portions between Nassar’s Father Kuriakose and his assistant Sathappan come as the saving grace of the flick. If not for it, Hostel would have been a straight two hours of damnation.
Actor Ashok Selvan in terms of performance has lived up to his part. But it is the lack of solid content in the drama that makes his performance appear weak one. The actor in his recent interview had stated that he is presently experimenting with his choice of films. As part of his experiment, we get two successive adult dramas. Perhaps, the experimentation is in the adult genre? Actress Priya Bhavani Shankar has a track record of choosing her characters well. But with her role in Hostel, she has tainted her reputation. Even so, she does justice to her role. Veteran actor Nassar is effective as usual. Comedians Sathish, Munishkanth, Aranthangi Nisha, and KPY Yogi fail to live up to their purpose. The rest of the cast has delivered an average performance.
On the technical front, music director Bobo Shashi’s music is below par. His songs do not last in our memory right after they finish playing. Even his background score is lackluster. Cinematographer Praveen Kumar should have done better covering the drama. Editor Ragul would not have had to draw much effort to trim the flick.
On the whole, actor Ashok Selvan’s Hostel is yet another senseless, purposeless, and banal horror comedy drama that joins the list of its failed predecessors.